Veteran Hypocrisy

Bloggified by Jake on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like many other holidays, I hate Veterans' Day. Oh, it's not the veterans' fault. They're the victims here. My problem is with hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is everywhere you look during holidays, political rallies, religious ceremonies, and just about anywhere else. The reason the Founding Fathers saw fit to make freedom of speech the very first right guaranteed by the Constitution was because if Americans were held accountable for everything we say that contradicts other things we say and do, the Indians would still own the land where my house is built and 19th century Southerners never would have had the manpower to harvest all their crops.

Look at Twitter or Facebook today and you'll be overwhelmed by the number of comments coming from people who want to express how much they care about the vets. They're being posted at a rate of more than one per second. Unfortunately, just like the homeless need food every day and not just Thanksgiving, veterans need more than a few tweets on the 11th of November from the people who claim to be so grateful for all the freedom and peace they enjoy.

More an a quarter million veterans are homeless. While death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan pale in comparison to Viet Nam or World War II, we are still bringing home hundreds of young men and women every month who have been maimed, crippled physically and/or mentally. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have done tours of duty in the Middle East have been sent back time and time again without any efforts to--forget about trying to end the war--just to define why we are there and what we realistically expect to accomplish.

If we can't even be bothered to tell our vets why it's important for them to leave their families for 9-15 months at a time, how much can we really say we care about them? And platitudes like "freedom" or "democracy" or "fightin' 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here," don't count.

The biggest beef I have with all this is when people choose to wrap themselves up in the American flag and be proud to be an American where at least they know their free and not forget the men who died to give that right to them and proudly stand up next to you and defend her still today... except for that part about standing up. Replace that with "proudly sit on my couch and watch whatever 30 seconds of footage Fox News shows me before going onto some story about how ACORN is lobbying to control the fresh water supply."

I can honestly say I have more respect for someone who says:

"Hey, soldiers! You know what your job is? It's to go to all the shitty places in the world where people hate us and kill as many of those people as you can before they kill you. And that last part is in the job description, too. Don't bother coming back with your fucked up brains that have been wired into killing machines. You're a menace in ordinary society! And if you get your leg blown off, why should we give you medical help? Like we need some 19-year-old with one leg sapping off our tax dollars every year for the rest of your life. Face it, the reason you joined the military was because you dropped out of high school or got your girlfriend pregnant at 16 or couldn't land a good job or came to some other hopeless dead end. What are the odds you're going take that background, go away to do nothing but kill brown people for two years, then come back with one leg and make yourself a valued member of society?"

than I do for someone who says:

got to be in the parade with the veterans at the american legion hope you guys all had a good veterans day and thank you for the men and women who have served and continued to serve our country we love you!

but can't tell you anything about how her currently elected congressional representatives stand on a bill like S. 1963, the Veterans’ Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act.

If 20% of the people who are willing to tell their Twitter followers and Facebook friends how much they care about Veterans were willing to tell their congressmen how much they care about veterans, we wouldn't have VA hospitals that are more dangerous than not getting care at all. We wouldn't send our troops into harms way unless we truly knew there was no other choice and that their sacrifices would be the noblest of all. We wouldn't let seven-year-old kids grow up most of their lives not knowing one of their parents. We wouldn't allow politicians to roll out veterans as props for photo ops ever other year when an election gets close. We wouldn't let predatory lenders anywhere near military bases to take advantage of soldiers just before they deploy or their families while they are gone. We wouldn't allow one party or the other claim it's more patriotic because it's more willing to use the military.

Veterans are people. That means two things. First, they are not superheroes. We shouldn't put them on pedestals and declare them better than anyone else simply because they chose to serve. There are a lot of good people who never joined the military and a lot of shitty people who did. Automatically canonizing anyone for joining a group of any type ("How dare you level such an accusation? If anyone in the world would not molest a child, it's a priest!") is a dangerous game. Second, and more importantly, they aren't objects. Unlike the guns, tanks, humvees, and other equipment they are often associated with, soldiers can't be sent into the motorpool for a quick tune up to make sure they last another 10,000 miles and they can't just be thrown away when they break.

Today is a day to celebrate our troops, but it shouldn't be the only day. Unless you are going to hold politicians accountable for their proclaimed respect and admiration for our vets, just shut up.

3 sarcastic replies:

Jennifer Juniper said...

Well said. :-(

Russell said...

Harsh but, in so many ways true.

Temitope said...

Very well said. Bravo bravo bravo. It is a good time to wake up.

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